How to Dispose Of Clay Water?

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Regardless of how careful one is, even the best potters can end up with extra clay that cannot be used for the project. While the doughy clay can be reused, the watered-down variants might be difficult to reuse. So, should you throw away this clay? Is draining the right way to dispose of clay water?

First things first, you should never throw away the clay water in your drain. The ideal move would be to dispose of the clay properly or maybe reuse it if possible for the next project.

Should You Dispose Of Clay Water In Your Sink?

This is a big no when it comes to disposing of unused clay water. In doing so, you might end up ruining your pipelines and might require help from a plumber to fix things. The unused clay might not flush completely from your drainage system and accumulate inside.

With time, the clay might dry within the pipeline and cause the pipes to crack. It might also cause issues such as blockages when left unchecked for long.

Here are some methods to carefully dispose of clay water:

1. Let The Clay Settle Overnight:

The best way to get rid of clay water is to allow it to settle overnight. Once you are done crafting, let the bucket of clay water sit still in the corner of your workspace for 8 to 10 hours. Doing this will allow the clay to settle down, and the water will float up.

Gently lift the bucket without disturbing the clay that has settled down. You can dispose of the clean water in your sink until the clay beneath starts to surface. Now, let the remaining clay dry out completely, and you can reuse it for your next project.

Alternatively, you can toss out the solids with your regular garbage.

2. Water Your Plants:

Using the same method as explained above, you should allow the clay to settle down. Now, use the water floating above to water your plants. You might notice some residue in the plants, but that is completely fine. However, make sure you don’t pour the viscous part of the clay water on your plant.

3. Use A Gleco Trap:

If you still wish to dump your clay water down the sink or the drain, you can make use of the Gleco Traps available on the market. They are a tad on the expensive side. However, it sure is worth those extra bucks. It helps save your plumbing system from any damage while catching the clay residue within.

In case you are looking for a durable and reliable option, you can try the Practicon Gleco Trap System. Its see-through bottle helps show the waste level, and the bottle can easily be replaced in one minute or even less.

4. Use a Sponge:

When the clay has settled down, you can get rid of excess water by using a big sponge. You can buy some from your local mart or get one from online stores. The remaining clay can be used as a slurry or slip to craft your next artwork. If you do not understand the difference between slurry and slip, let us take a look at it.

Thicker with a heavy cream consistencyThin watery consistency
Used for joining clay parts and patchworkUsed for decoration
Applied to greenwareApplied to the greenware and bone-dry clay
Has a higher water content which might cause more shrinkageHas a higher water content which might cause more shrinkage

What Type Of Clay Is Recyclable?

If your clay has been fired, it is structurally and chemically altered. Post-firing, clay becomes ceramic & cannot be reverted back to the base form. However, before bisque firing, most clay variants, regardless of how dry, can be easily recycled.

There are different approaches when it comes to recycling clay water. Most potters follow specific recycling guidelines while others opt for random practices, and most of them do work. Simply put, the final method that works for you would depend on what is convenient and easy to work with.

When recycling, you should separate your clay by considering the following guidelines:
  • Is it workable? What condition is leather hard, bone-dry, or wet?
  • Does the clay have any tint added to it? Do they all have different colors?
  • What was the clay water initially used for? Waste that comes from creating pots and vases would likely be in the form of off-cuts or scraps. On the other hand, waste that comes from throwing clay pots would most likely be watery slop.
 There are several variables that need to be considered when it comes to recycling clay water. However, by reusing clay water, you can save up a lot on unnecessary expenses. You can use this clay water as a slip for the next project by watering it down to your desired consistency. In case the clay water is too thin, you can add some more clay to make it into a slip or slurry-like consistency, depending on the project.

If you don’t plan on using the clay soon enough, it is better to dry off the clay sediment. Let the clay sediment rest in a place that gets enough sunlight or in a well-ventilated place. In a few days, the clay would become bone dry and can be stored for a long. The next time you plan on using it, simply add the required amount of water and use it as needed.

To dry the clay faster, you can spread it out on plaster bats or old towels. If your towel becomes too wet, you might be better off changing it. You can use any type of surface that is absorbent enough but doesn’t disintegrate when exposed to water.


Recycling is the best way to avoid unnecessary waste. However, if you do have to throw out the clay water, the methods mentioned above can be perfect. Choose the one that fits your needs the best way. To avoid creating a lot of clay water, the key is to use the least amount of water required for your craft. This will help save water and also reduce any additional efforts required to get rid of the clay water.

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